Temples of LONAR

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2018

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1. Lonar is famous for its Crater. What few know is the existence of a wow temple Daitya Sudan. It was made about 10th century, has amazing reliefs and sculptures. Beauty is sculptures have epics, Shiva, Shakti and Surya and Vishnu to whom the temple is dedicated. It is about 5 to 7 minute drive from Lonar Lake. U see side view of temple south east side.

2. Close by is the Hanuman Temple. The murthi was discovered by the Kanitkar family in 1841. It has magnetic effect. If you put a compass next to murthi it will not work. Hanuman is angry-see this teeth, big eyes, raised hand as if to hit. Since Shani Bhagwan causes problems for people Hanumanji kept him at his feet to help him get rid of ego.

3. For years the murthi had sindoor. It was removed in 2013. 31 quintals of sindoor was removed. Then people realized it is not a sleeping but a standing murthi. Hanumanji is in CHARPAT Mudra.

4. Pics presented clockwise. Right is entrance. Centre is plinth. On panel are sculptures. Plinth wall has kirti mukha, hansa etc. According to Lonar book by S.T. Bugdane, “oldest ref to Lonar found in the Rig Ved. It had name Madhumati Nagar. Other ref is in Skanda-Puran known as Godwawari Khand & in Padama Puran known as Vishnu Gaya”.

5. Temple has 3 entrances two of which you see. It has no shikhar. Sculptures damaged with time. According to local guide Subhash temple was made by Chalukya Raja in the 9th century. According to Bugdane book, ‘In Treta age on the way back from Lanka Sri Ram, Laxman, Sita once again visited Lonar, Lonar lake then was known as PANCHAPSAR lake”.

6. Attractively carved doorway is very similar to what I saw at Siddhanath Mandir Omkareshwar. Entrance is Kirti Mukha. According to book, “In Dwapar age PANDAV has also taken holy bath. Then lake was known as Nabhi Tirtha & Dhara as Kapila Tirth. Up to 1294 rulers of Lonar was ruled by followers of Indian religions, then till 1853 mostly Muslim rulers.”

7. Right top is Varaha Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Centre pic is Mithuna couple like one see in Khajuraho, Sun Temple Konarak, Bhoramdeo Mandir near Raipur etc.

8. Centre shows birth of Sri Krishna. U see Devaki, Vasudev and Dwarpal. Left is Vishnu Chaturbhuj. For a good guide call Shailesh 91 97635 45169. He is Maharashtra Tourism approved. or call Amol 91 99754 47088.

9. Centre is Dancing Ganesha. Right is Aditya Narayan i.e. combination of Surya and Vishnu. There are 32 temples in Lonar of which 27 temples are located inside the crater. According to guide Subhash Yadava rulers of Devgiri (i.e. near Aurangabad) made 12 Jyotirling temples around the lake. Period around 10-11th centuries.

10. Full view of panel bottom to top. Right side lots of mithuna couples. According to book, “demon Lonasura who dwelt in the crater close by & was eventually slain by Vishnu in his incarnation of Daitya-Sudan.”

11. Temple is 3 tier. Garbha Graha (sanctum) at end i.e. left of pic, Prayer & dance hall that you see and Sabha Graha (meeting hall). In the niche is Chamunda Devi. There are 3 niches. Other two are Surya Devata and Narasimha Avatar killing Hiranyakashyap. The building never seems to have been finished, roof and 3 doorways to hall are incomplete.

12. Inside niche is Chamunda Devi. Left of murthi is a stylish lady. Panel has sculptures of mithuna couples. The temple measures 105 feet long by 84.5 feet wide. Temple made of black stone profusely carved exterior with images & other ornament.

13. Centre is HARIHARA ie Shiva and Vishnu. Lonar is a small town about 3 hour drive from Aurangabad. It can be seen on a day visit. I drove in from Ajanta Caves (about 4 hours), reached about 1.30 pm, visited temples post lunch, saw sunset at crater, next morning went for parikrama of crater at 6.30 am, takes about 3 to 4 hours and left Lonar by 12 noon.

14. Parashurama avatar of Lord Vishnu. U can stay at MTDC Resort. Good rooms and decent food.

15. Centre is Shiva TANDAV NRITYA. About 600-700 years ago Lonar was a trade centre. The salt industry in this region was very old. Akbar king liked soap of Lonar. In ancient & medieval times Lonar was better known as a place of worship. Perhaps because of large number of temples round the crater.

16. Centre is DARPAN SUNDARI – lady seeing herself in the mirror. Also seen in Belur Temples Karnataka.

17. Vishwakanya ie poisonous lady. She is said to be beautiful like peacock, poisonous like a snake, chanchal like a fish & evil like a shikhari. Also seen in Rani-ki-vav Patan Gujarat.

18. West side view. In niche is Surya Devata.

19. Close up Surya Devata. Do not see 7 horses though.

20. Right is dear Ganesha. Centre is the first position when we start Surya Namaskar. Quite happy with myself for spotting this. Shailesh guide was always ready with an explanation.

21. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva i.e. from left to right.

22. Centre see a lady killing a dragon. Remember this temple was made in 9th century.

23. North side view end to end. The temple measures 105 feet long by 84.5 feet wide. It is a 3 tier temple. First block is sanctum or Garbha Gruha. In Swarag Mandapa in 4 corners are flying Gandharva couples & upper layer of dancing Apsaras. The third is Sabha Graha or meeting hall.

24. When Krishna was 3 months old, Putana entered Gokul to breast feed Krishna with poison. But baby Krishna took the life out of the demon. Centre of pic is what u see. Also seen in panel of Kailasa Temple Ellora.

25. Centre is Laxman, Sri Ram and Sita.

26. Left is Vishnu and Laxman. Centre is Mahisasuramardini. This is Deviroop killing the Asura who is in the form of a Mahisha (i.e. male buffalo) so she is known as Mahishasuramardini. Mahisa is a male buffalo, asura is demon, mardhini means slay Mahishamardhini.

27. Left is Bali and Sugreeva yudh (fight) ie Ramayana. Right is boxing. Centre is Mohini Bhasmasur.

28. Sri Krishna’s brother Balaram.

29. It was Ganesh Chaturthi time. Villagers making rangoli. Happiness and smiles all around.

30. Front east facing view of temple. Opposite entrance is Garud, vehicle of Vishnu.

31. This murthi of Vishnu was gifted by Bhonsle Raja of Nagpur in the year 1847.

32. Pranams to Garud, vehicle of Vishnu – opposite temple entrance.

33. Lavanasura Rakshas (demon) lived in Lonar. Vishnu killed him so from demon came the name of the village as Lonar. Lavan in Sanskrit means salt. Crater is salty. From early times people made salt here.

34. Sri Krishna playing the flute. In this prayer hall 4 corners have 4 images – it was too dark could capture only 2.

35. Basement moulding. Bottom up 1 to 3 s great square, 4 is Butters, 5 is JivalLata, 6 is Kirti Mukh (to ward away evil) and 7 is Hansa.

36. Overview of Lonar Crater Lake.

37. This is Gaumukha Mandir. Loved this place. Felt as if had come here before. There is a fresh water stream where devotees have a bath. Water flows non-stop throughput the year, although guide Subhash said flows reduce during the summers. Water flows into the lake. To see pics of Lonar Crater Lake and temples along the lake https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Maharashtra/Lonar-Crater-Lake.aspx

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